May 26 12:29 PM

Imlay Township earns a victory in court

Asphalt contractor has 21 days to appeal judge's decision

September 03, 2008
LAPEER — Imlay Township Supervisor Steve Hoeksema is pleased that Lapeer Circuit Court Judge Nick Holowka on Friday ruled that the township does not have to provide Class A road access to a proposed asphalt plant as sought by John Carlo Inc.

Hoeksema, however, reserves celebration until another 21 days have elapsed, the time allowed for the Clinton Township-based asphalt contractor to file a challenge of Holowka's decision.

"We're very happy," said Hoeksema after Friday's hearing, "but they (John Carlo) still have the right of appeal. If they do that, we'll have to start over again."

Holowka's decision was specific to the contractor's wishes that a Class A road be made available to provide access to the township's Graham Road corridor connecting with M-53 and the I-69 freeway. The judge ruled that existing secondary access routes are sufficient.

John Carlo's plans are to build an asphalt plant near the intersection of Newark and Summers roads. The contractor's efforts to build have consistently been met with opposition from township officials and many residents.

The Imlay Township Board denied an earlier John Carlo request to rezone the land from agricultural to industrial, resulting in a lawsuit filed by the developer and the landowner, Earl Anspaugh.

In 2004, Holowka ruled that the township had sufficiently revised its master plan to provide for more industrial use and development. Both the contractor and Anspaugh appealed that decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which sided with them.

The township then appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which remanded the case back to Lapeer Circuit Court and Judge Holowka.

"The economy has changed since they first pursued this," reminded Hoeksema. "This has gone on so long, we don't want to misstep. If the 21 days pass and it's final, I would have more to say.

"We're not aware of what their strategy will be now," he continued. "But this is good news for Imlay Township. We hope to prevail."

John Carlo Inc. is the parent company of Trinity Land Development, a major force in the development of a variety of real estate projects in the metropolitan Detroit area.

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